CDS will bring in synergy, say experts-The Hindu-(PG-12)-26-12-2019
Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who will be the single-point military adviser to the government as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee.
The CDS will be a four-star general and his salary will be equivalent to that of the service chiefs.
The CCS also approved the report of a high-level committee, headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, which finalised the responsibilities and the enabling framework for the CDS.
As per the recommendations, a Department of Military Affairs headed by the CDS will be created under the defence ministry.
The CDS will be the first among equals among service chiefs. However, in the list of protocol, the CDS will be higher than the service chiefs.
The main task of the CDS will be to ensure jointmanship among the three services. This will include powers to work on setting up a few theatre commands as well as allocating military assets among the services to synergise their operations.
At present, the three services coordinate their work under the framework of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), which will be subsumed into the new structure after the appointment of the CDS.
The CDS will also act as a single-point military adviser to the prime minister and defence minister on key defence and strategic issues.
Strategic experts have said that the government's approval for the creation of the post of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) is a welcome move to bring in synergy among the three Services at the higher level and optimise resource utilisation.
However, it needs a change in the mindset of all stakeholders, and the CDS has to take the three Service Chiefs along to achieve the mandate, they observed.
The CDS will be a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief. The CDS will head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) to be created within the Defence Ministry and function as its Secretary and the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).
It has taken 18 years and a long political trajectory from Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Narendra Modi for the creation of the post.
Experts have termed the creation of a new department, DMA, with the CDS at the helm and the dual roles as Secretary to the Government of India and Permanent Chairman, COSC, as every innovative.
Basically, the CDS will be wearing two hats, he will also be functioning as a Secretary in the MoD that already has four Secretaries.
Evolving a stable hierarchy and equivalence for the CDS with the civilian bureaucracy will call for some deft give-and-take by all the principal stakeholders.
The government intent seems to be the long-term restructuring as the responsibilities include the establishment of theatre commands.
Another positive step was the three-year time frame to the first CDS to bring about jointness in several areas including operations, logistics, transport and training.
If the CDS is able to do that, it will be a positive step and will lead to further integration. The Services will have to slightly change from a service-oriented mindset to a more joint approach.
Experts feel the post has the requisite mandate and authority. The CDS should consolidate the headquarters of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) and the charter and has to carry the three Services along as the first among equals and ensure that the DMA is keyed into the apex decision making level.